Today marks exactly 6 years since I married my best friend Maggy back in November 12th, 2005. It has been a fantastic journey and we have been blessed with two children, Josh and Hope who are 5 and 3 years old respectively. When I look back I cannot help but thank God for his faithfulness to us in the marriage and his blessings of children.
Our first year of marriage was one full of drama, disagreement, fights over anything and everything. We would argue almost daily on the most mundane things you can ever think of. I recall one evening I came home and was so angry over a previous issue that was still unresolved and in protest I boycotted dinner and went straight to bed. If you have ever tried to sleep without eating whether you are fasting or not you know that sleep does not come easily. In the middle of the night the hunger pangs were too strong for me and I could not hold any longer, and I tip toed from the bedroom to the kitchen and went to warm the food. Although I attempted to do this as quietly as possible, as I was opening the lid covering the sufuria it fell on the floor with a loud bang. My wife woke up, came straight to the kitchen gave me one look and burst out laughing. We both laughed. It was one of the most stupid things I have ever done during my 6 years of marriage.
How has marriage been? What are the lessons I have learnt? Given I chance would I still marry the same girl? Would I even get married in the first place?
In the society that we live in, there is a lot of negativity on the institution of marriage. The FM stations in Kenya are obsessed on who provides the ‘juiciest’ and dirtiest story of a relationship or marriage gone sour. Couples whether married or not are busy ‘bursting’ each other on radio and the society that we live in seem to enjoy these kinds of nonsense. Stories of spouses cheating on each other for whatever reason are abound in many marriages and relationships and I know some people who have concluded that they would rather remain single if only to ‘save’ themselves from such agony and heart aches.
I have no clue what are the ‘Ten Principles to make your marriage last’ or ‘Ten reasons why you need to get married’ or ‘Five ways to bring fire in your marriage’. All I know is that marriage is a huge risk, and like any risky venture, you evaluate your options before engaging into it. I am a firm believer in the permanency of marriage and it’s also God’s will. There is no trying or testing in marriage. If you are in, you are in for good. As a Christian I think the only way to make your marriage happy is to follow keenly what Ephesians 5:22-33 says.
“22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
I know there are many questions from women on verse 22 regarding the subject of submission. Unfortunately that is what the Bible says; you have to submit to your husband as unto the Lord. To submit does not mean you do so as a servant, but is to ensure that you do not take over the leadership of the home from your husband. You should not talk to him or of him in a manner that shows you have low or no regard for him. As a woman your fellow women friends should know that you treat and regard your man highly regardless of his various weaknesses well known to you. To show contempt to your husband (however much you think he deserves) is and indication of your failure to submit.
For the husbands, this is the crux of the matter. Verse 25 says, Love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself for the church. He died for the church. Now if you understand how Christ loved the church then you will know what your benchmark is. Christ forgave and continues to forgive you (the church) every time you sin. How many times do you ask for forgiveness from God? In the same manner, you have to forgive your wife as many times as you would like to be forgiven. You have to love her unconditionally despite all her weakness. You have to support her all the time and be her shoulder to lean on.
In marriage there is nothing like a 50-50 sharing agreement. There is nothing like ‘I do my part’ and ‘you do your part’, at least in my view. Why is this? It’s because your 50% can be very subjective and that brings room for dispute. Why not go the whole hog and do the whole 100%? That way you do not need to justify why you have some ‘uncompleted’ tasks. When you come to marriage, your consideration should be what you are bringing on-board (and money is not one of them). It’s because we are selfish, we want the spouse we are getting married to, to be understanding, loving, caring, and considerate and all other virtues we can think of. Basically we just want someone to meet our needs.
Are you considerate? Are you caring? Are you understanding and supportive? You want a spouse who does not drink, but you are a heavy drinker or a ‘social drinker’. All bad things start with a ‘good intentions’. A man wants to marry a virgin, but he is not one himself. I heard one man justifying his misdemeanor that he is practicing with other women so that he can be ‘perfect’ when he gets married. What a lousy excuse? Others want a ‘God-fearing spouse’ but they are themselves not God fearing. It’s such an irony when we expect too much but give too little. Why would you want to ‘enjoy’ life only to get married when you are a ‘spent force’? I think many people knowingly marry a spouse of bad characters expecting him or her to change. They change, but for the worse.Take early warning seriously and run for your dear life.
If we give without expecting anything in return, we become cheerful givers. If we give expecting a return then we are investors and need a specific rate of return on investment, below which the investment (marriage) is no longer viable. Today my request is for you to be a cheerful giver in your marriage or relationship. If we learn to love, to support and as much as we can spend time with our families our marriages would not be only stronger, but they will be a reflection of God’s own will.
Given a choice, would I still marry the same girl? Yes I would a thousand times. The girl I married is not the same one that lives with me. She has changed significantly. When I met her, she was shy, cool and a girl of few words. Today she is a great encouragement to many other girls who are still dating and are looking for answers to several questions of life. She has become a great mentor to many other young girls both out of college and in college. Today she runs a cake shop – Hope Cakes, despite her training in Economics and Accounts. If I married her because I thought the career should would take would make our combined life much better, then I would have been disappointed. But she chose something different and as her husband I support her fully.
Many times I have thought I have finally figured out who she is and what I can do to make her happy. At times I have been disappointed, because the taste and preferences have since changed. It’s like aiming a moving target. When I think I have all figured it out, the target moves and I am back to the drawing table. I think this is the fun of it. There is always something new.
Is our marriage successful? No. I believe something is successful once it’s completed. Our marriage is a work in progress and its success can only be evaluated when the marriage ends when either of us dies or Christ returns, which comes earlier.
Should you get married? I don’t know. But if you decide to get married, please do so because you know it’s the right thing to do and not due to pressure from relatives and peers. Always remember, marriage is a risk. You are in, you cannot get out until death separates you from your spouse.God hates divorce. Unless there is absolutely no way to salvage your marriage, divorce should be the last resort. So take your time during courtship and review whether you want to stick with your friend till death do you part.
To Maggy, you are my best friend and I am glad that I married you. You are a great wife and mother to our two kids. God bless you so much and Happy 6th Wedding Anniversary.